Concert etiquette demands that we sit still during a performance. Our presence, as listeners, should never intrude on anyone else’s experience of the music. Banish the bums who shift about in their seats, who bob their heads back and forth, who swing their legs incessantly.
In my younger days, I prided myself on the meditative focus I could summon for every concert experience. I would sit in a relaxed state of contemplation, nary a muscle trembling, all ear and mind.
And I was happy.
A few years ago, though, I discovered something so elementary it should never have come as a surprise: I discovered that moving in tempo with the music made me listen even more closely.
What kind of movement? Anything will do – a fingertip, a toe, a tongue tapping against the teeth. It can be completely indiscernible to anyone else: a little private, rhythmic interaction with the performers. When I get some muscular action involved, my whole being connects with the musical experience in a way that can’t be surpassed.
Unfortunately, I’ve also learned that nothing works better than a slight bob of the head. I rarely indulge myself in these miniscule cranial wags, but when I do, I find I’m so tightly focused on the music that I don’t miss a thing.
It’s possible that some of my fellow audience members find it annoying when my head starts swinging on its tiny pendulum.
But boy, am I happy.